5 Best Duck Breeds to Keep for Meat
Ducks are excellent for meat owing to their large size. Duck meat isn’t only high-quality white meat, but it is also an excellent source of protein and vital minerals. Ducks also grow pretty quickly compared to chickens.
These birds are ready for butchering within weeks. Some duck breeds, such as Muscovy and Rouen ducks are perfect for meat production.
1. Jumbo Pekin Ducks
Jumbo Pekin ducks are some of the fastest-growing duck breeds, making these ducks ideal for meat production. These ducks thrive well in both homesteads and backyards across the country.
Their large size makes the ducks great for meat production. Some Jumbo Pekin drakes can weigh up to 12 pounds, meaning they can give you plenty of meat after butchering. Jumbo Pekin hen ducks can also produce a considerable amount of meat as they weigh up to 9 pounds on average.
Besides boasting high meat production capabilities, Jumbo Pekin ducks also have tastier meat than other duck species. Their meat is tender and 100% fat-free, making the meat healthy. Their meat is also rich in protein, hence suitable for people who want protein-rich meat.
It is easy to keep Jumbo Pekin ducks for meat. These ducks are overly low-maintenance birds, and they can thrive well in virtually any environment. Unlike most duck species, they also don’t carry diseases since they are hardy. Their ability to grow pretty fast makes them the ideal duck species to keep for meat.
2. Rouen Ducks
Duck keepers keep these ducks both as pets and for meat production. Though Rouen ducks aren’t the best layers, they are heavyweight duck breeds, thus making these ducks an excellent duck species to keep for meat.
These ducks thrive well on small farms and homesteads. Although they don’t grow fast like most meat duck species, they boast flesh-tasting meat, which is excellent for roasting. Furthermore, they can be pretty large when they reach maturity.
These ducks can weigh between 9 and 12 pounds on average upon reaching maturity. Rouen ducks are ready for butchering at eight weeks old.
You can butcher your Rouen ducks as early as seven weeks if you provide these ducks with quality food to promote their growth. Butchering your Rouen ducks earlier will help you save those extra bucks on duck feed.
Furthermore, the meat will be lighter tasting and tender. Nonetheless, butchering your Rouen ducks when they are a few weeks old will hinder your ducks from growing to their maximum size.
3. Swedish Ducks
Swedish ducks originate from Sweden, as their name implies. These ducks are also prevalent in the Americas and the world over. Swedish ducks are excellent meat producers since they are heavyweight ducks capable of producing large quantities of meat. Swedish duck meat has an exceptionally great taste. The meat is suitable for both frying and roasting.
Furthermore, the meat is lean and doesn’t contain fat like meat from other exotic duck species. Swedish ducks also grow fast, and they are ready for butchering at around eight weeks. Besides being great meat producers, Swedish ducks are also wonderful layers. They are easy to keep since they like foraging outdoors since they are more of an outdoor duck species.
4. Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy ducks are perhaps the best meat producers, given their large size. Duck meat from Muscovy ducks is probably some of the tastiest duck you will ever eat. It has a mild, pleasant flavor that goes along well with various cuisines.
Muscovy ducks’ meat has a milder and lighter flavor. The meat from Muscovy ducks is suitable for whole-roasting. Furthermore, the meat from these ducks has little to no fat content. The remarkable taste from Muscovy ducks’ meat makes the meat exceptional compared to other types of duck meats.
Muscovy ducks are also among the fastest-growing duck species. Most Muscovy drakes grow to over 12 pounds on average. These ducks are ready for butchering at around six weeks old. Furthermore, these ducks are excellent to keep for meat, whether indoors or outdoors.
These ducks are suitable for large farms and small homesteads since they can adapt to virtually any environment. Most importantly, Muscovy ducks are also highly disease-resistant, making these ducks an excellent duck species to keep in a harsh environment.
5. Aylesbury Ducks
Aylesbury ducks are also a popular duck meat species. Native to Europe, these ducks are also commonplace in North America. They aren’t layers since they lay between 35 and 125 eggs yearly, but more of meat producers. Their high bone-to-meat ratio makes these ducks fantastic meat producers.
They are also large duck species, with drakes weighing over ten pounds on average. Although some hens can grow much heavier, Aylesbury hens can weigh between 7 and 9 pounds. These ducks are ready for butchering at eight weeks old.
Their meat is exceptionally delicious. It is soft, lean, and has an authentic flavor you can’t get in meat from most duck species such as mallards.
Aylesbury duck meat is ideal for roasting and frying. The meat can be tastier if you add some species to it, although you don’t necessarily have to add species to it since it is naturally delicious. The other benefit of Aylesbury duck meat is that it is lean and has plenty of protein.
How to Raise Ducks for Meat?
People raise ducks for both eggs and meat. Most duck keepers raise ducks for meat since ducks can’t frequently lay like chickens. Keeping ducks for meat is relatively straightforward since ducks have fewer maintenance requirements than chickens. Read through these insights into how you can raise ducks for meat in your home.
– Pick the Best Breed
Not all duck breeds are suitable for meat. Some breeds are perfect for laying rather than producing meat. Since you can’t keep every duck breed for meat, it helps to know the best species to keep for meat. For instance, you can keep Jumbo Pekin ducks, Swedish ducks, or Rouen ducks if you consider keeping ducks for meat.
Aylesbury ducks and Muscovy ducks are also excellent meat producers. Simply put, keep overweight and large ducks, since these ducks will produce large quantities of meat.
While we might all see ducks as dirty and careless birds, since they usually roll in dirty areas, these birds deserve to live in a clean and dry environment. Keep your ducks in a dry, draft-free, and clean environment.
Ducks living in dirty shelters are susceptible to duck diseases such as Avian cholera, which kills ducks in their infancy and way before they are ready for butchering. The toxins in dirty shelters make your ducks’ health deteriorate, which ultimately slows down their growth.
Ducks also need bedding in their coops to keep them comfortable. Spread some sawdust or wood shaving in the duck coop to give your ducks comfortable bedding, mainly while keeping ducks indoors. Replace the bedding once it starts to show signs of wearing off.
Diet is vital for ducks species for meat. Your ducks won’t achieve desirable weight and size if they lack a proper diet to promote their growth. Duck species for meat require protein to develop muscle and accelerate their growth. They also need a moderate amount of carbohydrates to give them the energy to walk around.
Vitamins are crucial for ducks since they strengthen their immune system. Calcium-rich foods will help your ducks maintain strong bones. Ducks occasionally need supplements to accelerate their growth in readiness for butchering. Water is also crucial for ducks since it keeps them hydrated throughout.
– Butcher the Ducks at the Right Time
Your ducks should be ready for butchering within weeks if you provide them with food, water, and proper housing. Ideally, it would be best if you butchered your ducks after a couple of weeks. Most duck species are ready for butchering at around eight weeks.
Ducks are excellent meat producers. They produce high quantities of meat compared to chickens and other domestic poultry. Choose the best duck species for meat if you plan to keep ducks for meat.